Posts Tagged ‘Torrey Utah’

Scenic Byway 12 / Burr Trail / Notom Road Loop

Friday, May 31st, 2013

The Scenic Byway 12/Burr Trail/Notom Road Loop brings you on an unforgettable journey through Capitol Reef Country’s rugged and diverse landscape. Begin the scenic drive in the Torrey,  Bicknell, or Teasdale area, and head south on Scenic Byway 12, then east onto the Burr Trail, looping back up Notom Road through the east side of Capitol Reef National Park and back to Torrey.

Torrey is one of the gateway communities to this scenic loop, a pretty community with a tree-lined Main Street where the town’s original log schoolhouse still stands.  Stop at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Information Center for maps and information to get oriented before heading out on the loop.

View of Scenic Byway 12 at the summit with Boulder Mountain as a backdrop

Scenic Byway 12
As Scenic Byway 12 climbs Boulder Mountain, you’ll pass the Wildcat Guard Station, a seasonal information center housed in a charming 1935 log building. After about 30 minutes of driving, you’ll find Larb Overlook with views of the Henry Mountains and Navajo Mountain, and Steep Creek Overlook with visibility of up to 100 miles on a clear day. From 9,400 feet, Homestead Overlook offers dramatic sweeping views of the Waterpocket Fold, the Henry Mountains to the east, and the Kaiparowits Plateau to the west. It should take just about an hour to reach Boulder via the paved two-lane scenic road.

As you arrive in Boulder–a.k.a. the “last frontier in Utah”–make a brief stop at Anasazi State Park Museum, the preserved site of one of the largest native communities west of the Colorado River. Boulder is where Scenic Byway 12 and the Burr Trail intersect. Big signs ensure you won’t miss the turnoff.

The Burr Trail as is descends from the plateau and through red rock canyons..

Burr Trail
Between Boulder and Bullfrog, this old cattle trail passes through the colorful landscape and slickrock canyons of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park, with striking backdrops of the Henry Mountains, Waterpocket Fold, and Circle Cliffs. The narrow, paved Burr Trail twists and winds between craggy, light-colored Navajo sandstone domes, the petrified remains of ancient sand dunes. As you pass through The Gulch and into Long Canyon, the Wingate sandstone walls soar higher and the road narrows and transitions from asphalt to gravel and dirt as it crosses into Capitol Reef’s boundaries. There are great views of the Circle Cliffs, all five peaks of the Henry Mountains, and the craggy Waterpocket Fold. The junction to Upper Muley Twist Canyon and Strike Valley Overlook is right before the switchbacks.

Burr Trail Switchbacks
About 34 miles into the drive you reach the Burr Trail Switchbacks. This is where things really get interesting, a series of hairy switchbacks with incredible views of the Waterpocket Fold. Things level off in Burr Canyon, where the Navajo sandstone has eroded away and flat top mesas accent the desertscape as you approach Notom Road at the 36-mile mark.

Traveling along the Notom Road.

Notom Road
Bear north and continue at a leisurely pace along the Waterpocket Fold—plan about two hours for this section. The drive along this unpaved backway alternates between packed and loose red sand. You definitely want to check the weather forecast because this isn’t the best road to drive during or immediately following wet weather. The Oyster Shell Reef is to the west, and you get a glimpse of the steps of the Grand Staircase in some of the rock formations. The road turns two lanes and paved for the last 11 miles.

A view of a bed and breakfast with domes from Capitol Reef in the background. Along the Notom Road.

Capitol Reef Visitor Center
Wind up your visit with a stop at the Capitol Reef Visitor Center to learn about the park’s interesting geology, archaeology, and history, before heading back to Torrey for the night.

View more about this and other scenic drives.

Torrey, Utah – Key Location for Tour of Utah Cycling Race

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Cycling Event Coming to Capitol Reef Country!

Tour of Utah - Torrey Utah

Cyclists on an uphill climb.

Aug 5-11, 2013 – Cycling fans, get ready to hit the highway and push the limits of endurance in the 2013 Larry H. Miller – Tour of Utah.  Attracting some of the world’s best cyclists, the Tour of Utah is one of only four UCI-sanctioned American pro cycling events, taking riders over diverse terrain and some of Utah’s toughest climbs. Second only to the renowned Tour de France, the six-stage, world-class race has been called “America’s Toughest Stage Race” due to the altitude and high temps.

Torrey, Utah is honored to be a host city for the tour’s 2nd stage.  At the junction of Scenic Highway 12 and Highway 24, Torrey is a gateway to Capitol Reef National Park, offering easy access to the park’s west entrance, Thousand Lake and Boulder mountains, and dozens of trails and canyons to explore.  The town boasts many shops and galleries, lodging, and quality restaurants.  Positioned at 6,800 feet, Torrey offers pleasant summer temperatures, clean air, colorful pioneer history and small-town hospitality—everything you expect from “the biggest little city in Wayne County.”  From the moment you drive into town beneath the canopy of 100-year-old cottonwood trees, you’ll see what visitors from Zane Grey to Butch Cassidy and everyone in between have always known—Torrey town has hosting down pat.

Tour of Utah Cycling Race

Cyclists will have some demanding elevation changes on the stage from Torrey.

In 2012, this extremely challenging cycling event welcomed more than 500 riders from 22 states and foreign countries. The 2013 Tour of Utah is scheduled for August 5 through 11.  Covering almost 550 miles of diverse mountain terrain, the 2013 Tour of Utah promises increased mileage, greater elevation changes (more than 38,500 feet), and stronger riders than ever before. Seven of the professional cycling teams that entered last year’s race also competed in the Tour de France. The 2013 Ultimate Challenge takes place Saturday, August 10, following the Queen Stage route, with three distance options. Brand new for 2013 is the Ultimate Challenge Femme, designed just for women with 30- and 60-mile options and dedicated vehicle support.

Stage 1 kicks off at 9,600 feet at Brian Head Resort to Festival City, U.S.A. (aka Cedar City).   Stage 2 travels through gorgeous Capitol Reef country from Panguitch to Torrey.  The race continues through Utah’s high desert farm country (Stage 3), to Salt Lake City for the downtown circuit race (Stage 4). The Queen Stage (Stage 5), also known as America’s Toughest One-Day Cycling Adventure,™ takes racers on a 112-mile, high-altitude tour from Snowbasin to Snowbird ski resorts, with more than 12,000 feet of climbing. The race finishes with the epic Park City route (Stage 6) featuring some of the steepest climbs and descents in pro cycling. Volunteers along the route at every stage will provide meals and drinks, a place to rest or just cheer you on.

The Tour of Utah is free to spectators.
For classifications and jersey information, visit

If you also mountain biking then check out these trails in Capitol Reef Country.

Race history: The Tour of Utah began as a regional race until its inception as the Tour of Utah in 2004. The Larry H. Miller Group purchased the race in 2007, shortly after it received UCI status. Still, it took until 2008 to achieve national race status, with five stages and $75,000 in prizes. In 2010, the Tour of Utah was added to the UCI America Tour and open to professional teams. Five ProTeams entered in 2011, and six competed in 2012.  As of 2011, only 88 riders were able to finish this challenging stage race. In 2012, pro racer Johann Tschopp of Tour de France fame grabbed the Leader’s Jersey during the Queen Stage.